It feels so good to be an angel!
Right before we spotted a young couple huddled together in the last row of the balcony weeping, Poppy and I had been rejoicing that we would never have to die, neither the involuntary death of a body we don't have, nor the death of a soul because we were God's angels.
We swiftly flew over to them to see what was wrong. Poppy said, "Did someone you love very much die? I am so sorry."
The woman answered with a sob, "You could never be as sorry as I am."
"We can try. Tell us who it was and we will pray for their souls to be refreshed and forgiven."
The young man answered for her, "It was us; we died. In fact, we are the reason that humans must die at all."
Poppy and I gasped together. "How could you do that! How did you do that?"
Adam and Eve explained their colossal act of disobedience, and in shame bowed their heads and cried even more. "It's all our fault. Every person who is torn from his family has us to blame for their grief."
I looked over at Poppy. It was an awkward moment because we naturally want to console the grieving, but these two characters deserved a whack instead!
Being more thoughtful and generous than me, Poppy replied, "I think God knew you would do that, please don't cry. Your tears of regret won't do anyone any good."
"I just want to go back to Eden. It was paradise!" exclaimed lovely Eve with all her heart. I who also yearned to go home and was evicted from my heavens could relate. But my eviction was not punishment, or was it? Well, my eviction did not bring down the entire body of heavenly hosts!
"Of course it was paradise." I replied, quickly shedding every ounce of sympathy. "To be able to see God, to never die. How could you have been so reckless?!" I blurted out, surprised at how angry I felt towards this couple."Did you see all those souls begging for mercy, and the people crying at John's funeral? Well, multiply that by trillions of souls who ever lived and had to die!"
Poppy shot me a fierce look and canceled my rebuke by adding, "Good news! God sent Jesus to earth to reopen the gate to your paradise! He will soon make it possible for you to reach the Tree of Life. Undo! It will be okay, better than ever maybe. Forgive yourselves and God will forgive you. Relax."
I refused to let go of my anger so soon. "Right! God came to earth as a human so even He would have to die, to save humans from the curse that you inflicted on mankind; in fact, on the whole earth! So you see, you are also responsible for Christ's death! And you sit here pitying yourselves! Pathetic!"
Poppy turned to me and in a calmer tone said, "Forgiveness is at the core of this situation. Don't you see that God wants humankind to learn how vital it is to repair the tear, to close the wound, that is caused by separation from Him and separation from each other. That's what forgiveness is. Unity is God's desire and His objective. Your attitude only perpetrates divisiveness." Then, in her most serious tone of voice Poppy closed by saying to me, "You are as much at fault as Adam and Eve if you are unable to forgive, because you are reopening the wound instead of healing it."
I countered, "These two characters caused death for humanity, God's replicas, because they didn't trust Him. Instead they allowed themselves to be influenced by Lucifer, and now I am supposed to forgive THEM and welcome them into the fold!"
Poppy frowned while retorting, "You sound like you are the one who will go to the cross for humankind! Relax! All you have to do is LOVE and forgive. Can you manage that? I can't wait for you to enter the cocoon. You are such an ugly caterpillar!"
Adam and Eve watched us angels argue. Slowly the sobbing stopped, and I think I heard Eve giggle. I was offended by her giggling. After all, I was agreeing with her that their fall from grace caused so much suffering. Instead of being laughed at, we should have been crying together. I was in a real dilemma. I was sure that my attitude was justified, and yet, it was neither kind nor humble.
Reading my thoughts, Poppy whispered so as to keep her advice private, "Does your attitude, justified as you think it is, unite or separate? Keep it up angel and you will find yourself in outer darkness whether you say you love God or not." And to Adam and Eve she said,"Don't despair. Have you repented of your doubting God's love and trustfulness?"
"Of course we have!" they chimed in unison.
"Then, be patient and prayerful. Jesus will see to it that you and your children's children who trust Him and who practice forgiveness and mercy will find their home in paradise and eat from the Tree of Life at the end of the Lenten journey."
Adam's face began to brighten, and he said, "When does this journey begin, count us in!"
I added, "Don't you live in Hades? How did you get up here anyway? I suggest you go back and wait. Pray and wait; you have done enough. Jesus will come for you after He suffers your punishment."
Poppy shot me another fierce look and said, "You really know how to ruin a beautiful moment."
Adam and Eve vanished, and I was left with an angry Poppy.
"You clearly have a lot to learn. We were so happy that we couldn't die, but your attitude is deadly. How can an angel like you be allowed to serve God?
You are assigned to a human during Lent. It will be your task to walk every step with him and make sure he gets to the Tree of Life. As for me, I don't want to see you again until that happens. Goodbye angel. I hope you can turn into a butterfly but somehow I doubt it. Prove me wrong. By the way, did you hear me say good bye! GOOD-BYE.
Poppy vanished, and I was left wondering who my person was, and how I would find out.
I hovered in the hallowed space of my new home hoping that I could change into a more humble and loving angel of The Lord. I travelled over to the iconostasis in front of the altar and spent some time in front of the icons, looking into their eyes and listening for words of wisdom. I started with the Archangel Gabriel on the far right, then moved left to John the Baptist who reminded me of the baptism of Jesus. I was remembering that clear day when I felt a shadow of a man approach me. I looked up to notice that Jesus had stepped out of His icon!
"Angel, it's time! Do you still want to accompany me into the wilderness?" He said. "We leave at sunset. Pray that your journey will be long and difficult and that that you will emerge thoroughly changed. Frankly, Lent is not meant for angels, but I know none that need transformation more than you. Let's go!"